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NGO tasks FG to negotiate release of Shauribu, others



NGO tasks FG to negotiate release of Shauribu, others

…As Nigerian women in UK task FG on country’s security***

The United Global Resolve For Peace (UGRFP), an NGO, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently direct security agencies to secure the release of Miss Leah Shuaribu and others in captivity of Boko Haram.

The Executive Director of UGRFP, Mr. Shalom Olaseni, who made the call in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said efforts should also be made to verify the claims made by Miss Grace Taku, an aid worker kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists.

Taku, who works with Action Against Hunger, was kidnapped on July 18 alongside five of her male colleagues in Borno state.

Olaseni, however, called on government to be cautious in its approach as the terrorists group could be seeking to attract attention for the release of their men or monetary gains.

“As a group, we must first caution against taking at a face value all the information passed on in the widely circulated video of Miss Grace Taku.

“It may as well be one part of a script by the insurgent group known for its propensity for propaganda and untruths.

He blamed the recent development surrounding Shuaribu’s life and others like her on failure of government to act or ‘do something’ since the kidnap of the girls.

Also read:  Boko Haram kills aid worker, threatens to harm Leah Sharibu

“The public was informed that efforts would be intensified to negotiate the release of Miss Leah Shuaribu who was reportedly still in captivity for her refusal to deny/renounce her Christian faith for Islam.

“Over 400 days later, amidst waning calls for actions on her behalf, the claims made by Miss Grace Taku in a video made in captivity has jolted the populace back into outrage and recentered discourse around a lonesome yet brave school,” he said.

The group pleaded with Nigerians to proffer constructive resolutions devoid of politics and sentiments on how to ensure the release of the girl.

Mrs Nkechi Okezuruonye (Middle) and some members of Elite Golden Ladies during their charity visit to Great Ormond Street Children Hospital, UK.

Nigerian Women in United Kingdom (U.K.) have urged security agencies to nip the security challenges facing the country in the bud to enable Nigerians in the Diaspora to come home and contribute to the development of the country.

The women under the auspices of Elite Golden Ladies, U.K. and Ireland, indicated this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone, through their President Mrs Nkechi Okezuruonye.

She said that the security situation in various parts of the country, especially kidnapping, could discourage most of them from coming home to assist government in moving the country forward.

“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure adequate funding of security agencies, to put a stop to kidnapping, banditry, Boko Harram attacks and so on,” she said.

Okezuruonye said the group which is a social and non-religious group had designed an annual programme of events through which members assist the less privileged in various communities in Nigeria, but noted that security was important in achieving them.

“As a women group, we realised that insecurity has brought a lot of hardship on the people and we decided to create a platform through which we can join forces with the Nigerian government to assist the less privileged.

“We have been in existence since 2011 and we are a non-religious organisation, and we support worthy courses just as we have supported people with diabetes in Nigeria by partnering with the Diabetes Association of Nigeria (DAN).

“We stretched forth our hands by supporting the less privileged people at Hopeville Rehabilitation Centre in Uturu, Abia State and the diabetic patients at the Ukpor General Hospital in Anambra; we have also supported diabetes patients in Nkanu, Enugu State.

“The widows are not left out because we supported some of them in Lilu, Ihiala, Anambra State with financial and relief materials

“We couldn’t have been able to render support to these diabetic patients and the less privileged people if we can’t come home; we have also supported Great Ormond Street Children Hospital in U.K., where we reside,” she said.




Foreign News

Libya’s Flood-ravaged Derna Struggles To Cope With Thousands Of Corpses



Residents and rescue workers in the devastated Libyan city of Derna are struggling to cope with the thousands of corpses washing up or decaying under rubble.

This is happening after a flood that smashed down buildings and swept people to sea.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and other aid groups urged authorities in Libya to stop burying flood victims in mass graves, saying these could bring long-term mental distress to families or cause health risks if located near water.

A UN report said more than 1,000 people had so far been buried in that manner since Libya, a nation divided by a decade of conflict and political chaos, was hit on Sunday by torrential rain that caused two dams to burst.

Thousands were killed and thousands more are missing.

“Bodies are littering the streets, washing back on shore, and are buried under collapsed buildings and debris.

“In just two hours, one of my colleagues counted over 200 bodies on the beach near Derna,” Bilal Sablouh, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) forensics manager for Africa, told a briefing in Geneva.

Ibrahim al-Arabi, health minister in Libya’s Tripoli-based western government, told Reuters he was certain groundwater was polluted with water mixed up with corpses, dead animals, refuse, and chemical substances.

“We urge people not to approach the wells in Derna,” he said.

Mohammad al-Qabisi, head of Derna’s Wahda Hospital, said a field hospital was treating people with chronic illnesses needing regular attention.

He said there were fears waterborne diseases would spread, but no cholera had been recorded so far.

Swathes of Derna, the centre point of the destruction in Libya’s east, were obliterated when the dams above the city broke, and the flood that swept down a usually dry riverbed brought down whole residential blocks while families were asleep.

The International Organization for Migration mission in Libya said more than 5,000 people were presumed dead, with 3,922 deaths registered in hospitals, and over 38,640 were displaced in the flood-stricken region.

The true death toll could be far higher, officials say.

“We should be afraid of an epidemic,” 60-year-old Nouri Mohamed said, at a bakery offering loaves for free. “There are still bodies underground … Now there are corpses starting to smell.”

The U.N. health agency together with the ICRC and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies called for burials to be managed better.

“We urge authorities in communities touched by tragedy to not rush forward with mass burials or mass cremations,” Kazunobu Kojima, medical officer for biosafety and biosecurity in the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said in the statement.

It called for individual graves, demarcated and documented, saying that hasty interments could lead to mental anguish for families as well as social and legal problems.

The bodies of victims of trauma from natural disasters “almost never” posed a health threat, it said, unless they were in or near freshwater supplies since corpses may leak excrement.

A doctor in Derna said this week that photos were being taken of unidentified bodies before burial, in case relatives could identify them later on.

Thursday’s UN report said more than 1,000 bodies in Derna and over 100 in Al Bayda, another coastal city hit by flooding, had been buried in mass graves.

The Norwegian Refugee Council, which has a team of 100 in Libya, said dead body management was the most pressing concern.

“I’ve heard from my team that there are mass graves where rescue workers were appealing: ‘Don’t bring us food, don’t bring us water, bring us body bags’,” the NRC’s Ahmed Bayram said. 

– Reuters

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Foreign News

Without France, there’d be no Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger – Macron



Malian president condoles with Macron over killing of French soldiers by jihadists

Without France’s military operations in the Sahel, “there would probably no longer be a Mali … Burkina Faso, and I’m not sure there would still be Niger”, French President Emmanuel Macron told French publication Le Point.

Macron is referring to the former colonial power’s interventions in the mid-2000s, Operations Serval and Barkhane.

French troops were moved from Mali to Niger after its military leaders cut ties with the former colonial power.

He said the interventions were done “at the request of African states” and were “successful” as his policy is facing scrutiny in the face of losing the allyship of the last remaining ally, Niger, and increasing negative sentiment from Africans.

*Niger Uranium site

He went on to explain that while these operations reflect France’s “honour” and “responsibility”, France could no longer remain involved “when there is a coup d’état, and the priority of the new regimes is not to fight terrorism” even though this is “tragic for the states concerned”.

In the interview, Macron defended his administration’s policy in the Sahel as one of partnership rather than focusing on security.

France refuses to acknowledge coup leader General Abdurahman Tchiani’s announcement that all military deals between Niger and France are terminated, and more than a thousand French troops remain stationed at a military base there. 

– Sputnik

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Foreign News

Ukraine Says Special Operation Troops Landed In Crimea



Ukraine says its troops landed in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014 and which Kyiv says it is committed to retaking.

Ukraine’s military intelligence (HUR) carried out the landing as part of a special operation and all tasks were fulfilled, said Andrey Yusov, a spokesman for the agency, on Thursday.

Russian media reported the attack took place at Cape Tarkhankut, in the far west of Crimea, and that the Ukrainian forces had been repelled.

According to the Russian news outlets Mash and Shot, which delivers their reports on the social media platform Telegram, the Ukrainians landed in rubber boats near a campsite.

Holidaymakers there were startled by gunshots and explosions, they reported.

Shots reported, citing Russian intelligence circles, that the crews of four inflatable boats about 15 to 20 men were later killed.

Yusov denied Ukrainian losses in the course of the commando action and said it was Russian forces who were weakened, although he did not give a precise number of casualties.

The battlefield claims could not be independently verified. 

– dpa

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